Sunday, April 13, 2008

CHATELAINE - A Magazine for Canadian Women - 80th Anniversary 2008

If you're interested in 20th century Canadian women's history, you have to have a look at Chatelaine magazine. No, I don't think it has represented all Canadian women, at least not from its start in 1928, but Chatelaine, besides covering food and fashion, has never shied away from controversy, beginning with women's health issues - maternal death in the 1920's, VD in the 1940's, and 'the pill' in 1953.

As a British Columbia woman, I've always been pleased that it was Hilda Pain from Eburne, B.C., whose name was chosen for the magazine. Apparently she was "a thoroughly Canadian woman of many interests". (Born in England though. Was she born Hilda Thorn, does anyone know for sure?)

In the mid 1950's and 60's, Chatelaine was certainly read by Canadian feminists like myself. Doris Anderson, Chatelaine's now legendary editor from 1957 to 1977, was a strong feminist journalist and editor - Canadian women's issues raised in Chatelaine were brought to the forefront and talked about from coast to coast.

To celebrate its 80th anniversary, Chatelaine's current issue, May 2008, includes a retrospective look at the magazine and its articles over the years, including 'Issues that Matter', as well as health, food and fashion through the years. (There's even a 'What were we thinking?' section. What is wrong about being a dunce in the kitchen?)

I'd have liked this anniversary section to be more prominent and longer, of course, (and maybe with bigger images, so we could really read the issues shown), but it's a nice spread all the same.

Chatelaine does have an on-line exhibit of historical issues though from the 1920's to the 00's [!]. Here the articles are very readable. There's the article by Emily Murphy (aka Janey Canuck), for instance, "Now That Women Are Persons What's Ahead", December, 1929.


Doris Anderson obituary, The Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA):

Chatelaine 80th Anniversary on-line exhibit:

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